BIST researchers win 2nd and 3rd place in the Vanguardia de la Ciencia Prize

By March 12, 2019March 21st, 2019BIST, ICN2, IRB Barcelona

Researchers from BIST centres IRB Barcelona and ICN2 were among the winners of the Vanguardia de la Ciencia Prize this year.

The “Vanguardia de la Ciencia” Award, a joint initiative of the La Vanguardia newspaper and the Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera, seeks to increase the visibility of scientists conducting frontier research and to bring this research closer to society. Candidate selection is based on two criteria, namely the excellence of the research and that this research has been headed by a Spanish institution.

The winning projects for this year’s prize with BIST researchers are:

Second place: The origins of autism, led by researchers from the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa

The second place prize has gone to a project on the origins of autism led by Dr. Raúl Méndez (IRB Barcelona) and Dr. José J. Lucas (Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa in Madrid). They addressed the influence of CPEB proteins in Huntington’s disease when they discovered that these proteins orchestrate the genome, which regulates the activity of thousands of genes. CPEB proteins determine whether these genes are activated or silenced at the correct time during embryonic development. The scientists observed that in mouse models of Huntington’s disease, the alteration in CPEBs affected the genes associated with predisposition to autism. Published in the journal Nature, the study concludes that a defect in CPEB4 could be the link between environmental factors that alter brain development and the genes that determine susceptibility to autism.


Third place: Nanoporous graphene led by researcher from the Catalan Institute for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) 

The ICN2 nanoporous graphene project earned the third place prize. ICREA Prof. Aitor Mugarza and Dr. César Moreno, from the Atomic Manipulation and Spectroscopy Group at ICN2, led the research published in Science together with Prof. Diego Peña (CiQUS), and Dr. Aran Garcia-Lekue (DIPC). Additional researchers from ICN2 were also part of the research, including Dr. Markos Paradinas (Atomic Manipulation and Spectroscopy), Dr. Gustavo Ceballos (Research Support Division) and Dr. Marius V. Costache and ICREA Prof. Sergio O. Valenzuela (Physics and Engineering of Nanodevices Group). The research describes the synthesis of a graphene membrane with pores whose size, shape and density can be tuned with atomic precision.

The awards ceremony will be held on April 4th, 2019 at LaPedrera, where researchers will present their work to a general audience. We would like to congratulate all the winners and thank all the readers who voted in this contest. We invite you to join us in the celebration of this prestigious recognition.

More information can be found at the ICN2 website here and IRB Barcelona website here.